This past weekend, Spotlight Productions brought hip hop artist Hoodie Allen to Grand Valley State University. These kinds of events usually attract high attendance, but what about events of other student organizations?
Many of the events listed on the student calendar have very low attendance. It’s really a shame when clubs have to cancel events after weeks or maybe even months of preparation. After all the planning, spending, securing a location, setting up and the build up of excitement, it’s really unfortunate for it all to go to waste.
A lot of the clubs have fun ideas, but if they don’t have people, they can’t reach their potential. This past week, Harry Potter Alliance had to cancel its Slam Poetry/Book Drive because no readers attended.
Some high schools have a student organization called Bleacher Creatures to increase attendance at school events. I first heard about in high school when a motivational speaker came for a homecoming pep rally. Basically, this club acts as a support group, or cheerleaders, for all events – especially the ones that normally don’t get the same attention as football, such as synchronized swimming or food drives.
Of course, the whole group can’t attend every single event because of scheduling conflicts, but they split up events and make sure some people attend each event. The motivational speaker said that by the time he graduated high school, nearly the whole school was involved in the club – which created a really tight knit academic community.
I think implementing something like this could really help to increase participation in GVSU clubs. We do have a lot of student organizations and events, but we have to make the effort to get involved for that to mean anything. Right now, they’re basically just a list. They need people to have meaning.
Many groups have under ten active members. It’d be great to see more active involvement, so when new people come to GVSU, they can see our school pride. We need a student body that is diverse and enthusiastic about being involved. When people ask about college and we have nothing to say about student organizations because we haven’t been attending events, it reflects really poorly on our university.
GVSU doesn’t necessarily have to have a club like this, but if people could get their friends together when they’re not doing anything and just spend two hours supporting their school, our community could really grow.
Now, what can the clubs do on their end to increase attendance? Perhaps it’s due to lack of awareness. Maybe clubs need to get the word out more through posters and the newspaper. We also have a TV and radio station. Some write club events on whiteboards in classrooms and the library – maybe they should do this more. Or they could place more of an emphasis on social media, like tweeting or making Facebook events that people can register for. Maybe do a pre-event bake sale and hand out flyers with each item. Get creative!